You might be thinking the world is already saturated with beautiful, niche print publications glorifying the culinary industry—we know we’ve covered several over the past few years (which still remain worthwhile reads). But UK newcomer Toast has a different take on what makes an exciting story about food and drink. Readers won’t find restaurant reviews, recipes or overly stylized food porn photos here; instead, founders Miranda York and Sarah Chamberlain have an approach that is decidedly fixated on the emotional side of gastronomy.
That’s not to say the paper-bound magazine treads lightly. In fact, you’ll find quite the opposite within its 100+ pages, and the long-form editorial content is so engaging, you’ll have a hard time putting it down. Issue 1 features an interview between Violet Cakes‘ baker extraordinaire, Claire Ptak, and chef Brad McDonald of The Lockhart—two Americans who’ve made their careers in London. The nearly word-for-word transcription of their conversation chronicles the disparate food cultures comprising different regions across the US; Ptak grew up on the bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables Northern California affords, while McDonald recalls Duncan Hines’ yellow cake and the expertly prepared BBQ found in his native Mississippi. Stars and Stripes-style graphics by Camile Walala keep the page as visually entertaining as it is anecdotally informative.
The emphasis placed on artwork is evident throughout. Illustrations underscore articles like “Working Title”—a spread in which chefs divulge alternative monikers they considered naming their restaurants—and most blatantly in Financial Times editor and “snacking connoisseur” Natalie Whittle‘s passionate tribute to the wide variety of addictive crisps stocked on shelves across the UK. Written narratives are broken up by strong photo essays, like Daniel Willis’ inspiring portraits of kitchen porters at notable restaurants The Clove Club and Hawksmoor, or Tim Richmond‘s photographs of sleepy seaside towns along the Bristol Channel.
Emma Gardner offers up a bit of fascinating British history with her piece about the 136 million food parcels sent to soldiers during WWI, and through her research at the Royal Mail Archive and images from the British Postal Museum & Archive, you really feel a true sense of the happiness they incurred by receiving a taste of home—even if the pudding had perished en route.
Sydney-born artist Anita Klein details the ordinariness of everyday life through a woodcut about spaghetti, Sybil Kapoor gets your mouth watering with a few entertaining Best Ever lists, Andrew Shelley lends a literary touch with his poem “Morning Spliff, East London” and finally, we learn the extensive history of England’s fish’n’chips through an excerpt from the late food journalist Michael Bateman’s book “A Delicious Way to Earn a Living.”
An apposite name for such an enjoyable journal, Toast is truly as described: “A Celebration of Food and Ideas.” Find the print publication online, where you can pick up a copy for £15.
Images by Cool Hunting